Active 35 Founder Stephanie Kay Atwood shares her story
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Stephanie’s Story Notes:
Born in the 50’s, just after World War II, California girl, child of immigrants.
My father’s family came to America in the 1700’s. I still have a trunk from a trip one of my relatives made, by boat, around the cape of South Africa to come west to California.
My mother’s family came to the US from Scandinavia in the 1920’s, before the Great Depression.
My heritage and genetics are Western European but my brothers and sisters, along with my children include a variety of races from around the globe.
I have been most fortunate in my life to experience diverse cultures in my family and through my work. I have Asian, Latin, and African-American brothers, sisters and children. I have traveled and worked on several continents and lived in Greece and Japan. I was part of an Academy Award Winning Film about my family called Who Are the DeBolts and How Did They Get 19 Children?
Grew up in a small town in California…
The first 12 years of my life were, on reflection, very typical for an American family with strong values and a lot of love. My Mom, Dad, 3 sisters and 3 brothers, and I made 9 of us total – 2 of my brothers were adopted from Korea.
When my Dad died, I was 12 and the family moved to the SF Bay Area.
Awesome opportunity for a budding teenager to live in a big metropolitan area after growing up in a rural town.
My junior high and high school years were filled with popularity, opportunity, and maturing. In the thick of the Vietnam War, hippies, flower children, and a strong economy my life was good.
Something was missing
By the time I graduated from high school it was very clear that something was missing. I had no idea what it might be but I knew it wasn’t discovered yet. All the high school things like fashion clothes and being popular felt empty and superficial.
Two things that occurred in high school that completely changed my life:
- Run a mile on the track without stopping – a graduation requirement, felt betrayed, could not run that far
- 26 days in the wilderness back-packing, rock climbing, mountain climbing,
3 days by myself, trail marathon
Beginning of my belief in myself
And that I wanted to empower other women to know this feeling. Those experiences happened almost 50 years ago but they formed my future and I am still living with the transformation that started way back when.
It feels great to share the knowledge, the camaraderie, the transition into an empowered life, focused especially on women over 35 and continuing up from there, who already know that they want to be fully involved in their life – today, and every day – through the ups, downs, and sometimes heart-wrenching parts of those years and decades.
I am now 66 and have devoted my life to learning skills and sharing information that empowers women. The education, businesses, and work/lifestyle that I chose was always based on the foundation of nature and my integral (though minuscule) connection to it.
The longer we live, the more experiences we have. To strive to fulfill goals and be open to difficulties; to learn from others, and to share good and bad; to value the past and welcome each new day…these take more than a casual involvement.
We have to be ACTIVELY INVOLVED and CARING about ourselves through each new day.
We have to appreciate the present, reflect on the past, and prepare for the future.
We have to LIVE to the fullest and make our lives matter.
Over the decades, MANY things have happened in my life
Here are some of the good ones:
• Running and racing since my late teens with great pride that I can still push myself enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon and other time-based races
• A member of the first American Women’s Expedition to climb the third highest peak in the world
• First college degree at 29
• First Masters Degree at 50
• National Certifications as a trainer, run coach, nutritionist
• Award winning Speaker and Musician
• 19 brothers and sisters (from mixed marriage)
• Mother of 4 wonderful, adult children.
• Married 17 years
• Owned and operated an adventure travel business for 20 years. Traveled all over the world and climbed Mt. Fuji more than a dozen time
• I’m a grandmother
• I have been an entrepreneur for more than 35 years
• I have written 10 books, two of them bestsellers
• Continue to run and compete on a regular basis
• I am one of the healthiest people I know
Here are some of the difficult experiences I’ve had:
• I lost 2 children and we never quite recover from this
• I am divorced and that divorce divided my children for many years. We are now healing…
• I was diagnosed with breast cancer but the good news is that I have been 10 years cancer-free
• I lost my home and my savings in the 2008 recession and discovered how difficult age can be to one’s morale and ability to restart
I’m guessing that we have some shared life connections, some mutual (or similar experiences), some common interests, and certainly a desire for living well and finding purpose. I believe my purpose is to share my message with you and give you the tools I have to offer, to find answers and strive high.
I am not so special, yet I am unique
I, like all human beings, have experienced good and bad.
We, you and I, have chances to make a difference. I have learned that I want to contribute through sharing the skills and talents that I have to give. I have also discovered that It makes me feel wonderful to empower a woman through educating her about her own value and worth.
I also know that there is an athlete within each of us. Not an Olympian, just a physical body that yearns to be utilized. I want to impress the importance of this gift for all of us.
An active, healthy body should not be taken for granted AND it needs nurturing throughout our entire life.
At 66, I am taking the steps and making the strides to offer my kind of health and vitality to all women, starting at age 35 but, and this is truly essential, extending into every decade and every year, for as long as we live.
I hear from others, so often, that “they used to” do active things but not anymore.
I want to offer an example and a challenge to all women. We are all getting older.
Let’s just keep this fact as an acceptance that we were given the opportunity to live another day and take full advantage of it!
I challenge you, and myself, to stay active and involved in your life. Live, laugh, love and move! Stay healthy and let me be part of the impetus of your good health and vibrancy.
We are in this together and I am 100% committed to living well and staying active for the rest of my life. Please join me!